In 2004 Ford Mustang celebrates its 40th anniversary. As a two-seater prototype, the Mustang already existed in 1962, when it warmed the crowd at the Grand Prix of Watkins Glen with a V4 mid-engine from Germany. This Mustang I however, was not suitable for production. The car looked too futuristic and Ford management wanted a four-seater. This would sell better with young families. For comparison, Ford took the Corvette and knew they had to do better than that with a more versatile car. The Mustang II from 1962/1963 came closer to the definite design by Joe Oros. Eventually, Ford management gave permission to start producing his design, which featured the galloping horse in the nose of the car. This running horse in corral was designed by Phil Clark, a young Ford designer. At first, the car was named after the Lockheed P51 (Mustang) fighter, but Henry Ford II didn’t want a “war image”, so they opted for prairies and wild American horses. De car was first shown at the world fair in New York on April 17, 1964. 2500 newspapers had already received information about the car, and the Ford marketing machine was working like never before. How did the idea about the Mustang get started? From the early days on, there was a strong rivalry between the Ford Motor Company and the Chevrolet division of General Motors. Both brands served the same market. Chevrolet had launched the Corvair because there was a need for compact and low fuel consuming cars. Ford responded with the Falcon and this car sold much better than the Corvair, just as the Thunderbird had done in the fifties with the Corvette.
Next, Chevrolet presented the Corvair Monza, This was a sporty compact car which was high on demand. Ford tried to compete with the Falcon Futura, but the Corvair Monza sold much better because the Falcon lacked the image and character of its competitor. To beat Chevrolet, Ford needed a new car. A car with sporty looks and sporty performance; a car that appealed to a young audience. Ford president Lee Iacocca had cleverly researched that the post-war Baby Boom generation in 1964 reached the age where they would want to own a car like this. Furthermore, the number of young people turned out to be enormous, so he knew that an appealing product for this group could become a huge success. Iacocca turned out to be right.